Q: I plan to start my Social Security when I turn 65 in January 2012. When and how should I file? What documents will I need?
A: The Social Security Administration usually tells people to file three months before they want their retirement benefits to begin. So you could start the ball rolling any time now. But you really don’t have to rush. Standard retirement claims are pretty easy for SSA to deal with, and they generally flow through the system in just a few days. I’m not saying you should wait until Dec. 31 to file for Social Security. The point is that you certainly don’t have to run out and file a claim tomorrow.